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Showing posts from 2012

A Concord Christmas

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For the past three years, Christmas on Canvey Island has been the time of year when something special happens, the two non league football clubs meet for the first of their two derby games during the season. Ever since Concord Rangers were promoted to the Ryman League Premier these games have led to countless discussions & banter between the two clubs & their fans. Rarely do the matches disappoint either. Prior to this Boxing Day four matches had taken place between the two sides, with the Beachboys coming out on top 3 times to Canveys 1. However the higher final league position has fallen to the Gulls in both previous years. Given that the last game was the Canvey win at Thames Road, & the fact that Concord were coming off a 6-3 demolition the week before, Canvey should have had some confidence, their fans certainly did when I spoke to some before the game.
The match was on at 3pm Boxing Day, mainly thanks to the hard work of the staff, players & committee who spent …

The rise & rise of Non League

Football as a sport has been around for generations, the majority of fans follow teams in the professional leagues, but the "non-league" set up below has been slowly developing teams & players for all that time. For the past 3 years my interest and involvement in non-league has grown immeasurably and with that I've been able to see first hand how the sport at this level has grown in popularity across the country. I also appreciate the set-up of non-league, it's differences to the pro game and the effort, drive & passion that goes into it at this level. When i first saw non-league games as a young child, it was just football, it was all the same to me, but I realise & appreciate that it's not.That's no bad thing, don't get me wrong! But the way I see it in my head is almost as a different sport to the top flights, and i follow Concord Rangers with as much emotion & passion as i do West Ham.
Basically non-league football is the game in leag…

Welcome to Concord Island!

Some of you may remember I recently wrote about a kind of home game hoodoo that concord Rangers were suffering from? The team had not won at home in the league, and when away from home the team were playing with more freedom to pick up the victories. I remember asking what the problem was, and hoping that it was overcome very soon! Well I didn’t have to wait too much longer to see my wish come true! The first game after my last article was actually a home game in the FA Trophy Qualifying, and that day saw the Beachboys fall 0-2 against follow Ryman League side Enfield Town, but thankfully that was the last loss that Concord have suffered since then!
November has been a month of victories for Concord Rangers, and even more so a month of goals, but I’ll come to that shortly. Saturday 3rd November saw the Beachboys have a tough trip to Harrow Borough in the league, and on a personal note I was hoping for 3 points as it was my birthday that day (selfish I know). Concord took the lead early…

Home Game Hoodoo!

There’s clearly something about the Aspect Arena at the moment, the home of Concord Rangers. Whether it’s the pressure of having the (although small) home crowd watching every move you make, or the fact that teams are coming to Thames Road & playing very differently, something is severely affecting the Beachboys results at home.
First off let’s look at our away form in the league, admittedly the seasons travels started badly with a 4-1 thumping at Lowestoft. But following that the first win of the season came with a 2-1 victory to at Carshalton Athletic, with goals coming from Jason Hallett and Danny Spendlove. One week later Concord picked up a 2-2 draw at Hendon, even after losing Danny Glozier to a late red card. Goals in that match came from James White and Tony Stokes. Tuesday 9th October was the next league away day, this one to high-flyers Margate who were sitting in 2nd place at the time. The Beachboys were 4th from bottom but still ran out deserved 2-0 winners, with both …

Movember Is Coming!

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November is only round the corner, and for me normally that means its time to look forward to getting another year older (birthday is the 3rd November for those that should be getting me gifts!). However this year that isn’t my focus heading up to the month. This year I have decided to do something worthwhile and raise money for charity by taking part in Movember.
Now for those of you that haven’t heard of this before, Movember is a charity initiative which has been responsible for thousands of men growing moustaches during the month of November and raising awareness for men’s health issues, specifically testicular and prostate cancer. How it works is simple, us gents sign up to take part at uk.movember.com, and on November 1st we go completely clean shaven. Sounds easy so far right? Well it doesn’t get any tougher! As the month progresses the Mo Bros (as we will be affectionately known) will grow and groom a moustache, and just a moustache. No beards at all, the ‘tache cannot connect…

The Magic Of The FA Cup!

For the majority of football fans that follow teams in the leagues above the conference, the FA Cup is a competition that starts in the middle of November (even January for the Premiership & Championship fans) and runs through to the final in May at the end of the season. Little do these league football fans know about the effort that is put in by non-league teams hoping to make the first round proper!
Before the first round is even thought of, there are 6 different qualification rounds of matches! The first preliminary round (Extra Preliminary) takes place way back in August, with teams such as Wootton Bassett Town (beating Calne Town 4-2) and Thrapston Town (beating Cogenhose United 2-0) taking part. This is where many of the dreams and journeys begin for clubs as low as step 7 in the non-league structure. Another Prelim round then takes place in late August still featuring teams from step 7 up to step 4, which hold leagues such as the Sussex County League, Kent Invicta League, …

The NFL is back in business

The NFL season is now two weeks old, so in time honoured tradition i thought it was about time i put my oar in and talk about what I've seen so far around the league. The early weeks are always tough to call as teams are still fresh, not always tight as a unit & the rookies are making their first NFL starts/appearances. Bearing that in mind i think I've personally learned a few things from these two weeks.First up, my New York Jets are both better and worse than they were in preseason (which to be honest was diabolical). Week 1 the Jets came out and pretty much demolished the Buffalo Bills before the first half was done! Mark Sanchez looked sharper than he had in some time, the WRs were getting open (especially rookie Stephen Hill, who picked up 2 touchdowns), the defence was strong (Cro grabbed a pick-6), and special teams did their bit too (Kerley returned a punt for a TD). Apart from taking the foot off the gas as the game went on, it was a great win for New York, surpr…

Four Games In

The 2012/2013 Ryman Premier League season is around 12 days old, and during the first 10 of those Concord Rangers had a tough set of 4 games. I was lucky enough to be at 2 of them, but to be honest after a solid pre-season I think as a whole we were expecting a lot more from them.
Opening day saw newly promoted Bognor Regis Town make their way to the Aspect Arena, after coming up through the playoffs in the Ryman South last season. It was a beautiful summers day, the sun was shining and spirits were high as football made its long awaited return! Spirits of us Concord fans were dampened though after 23 minutes when ‘keeper Michael Jordan failed to get hold of the ball and allowed Bognors’ Ashley Robinson to score the games opening goal. After a preseason where 6 clean sheets were kept, it was disappointing to see a goal given away so easily. The scores were level though 2 minutes later after Tony Stokes scored from a free kick (which he had originally won). Concord were playing well and…

At Last, The League Begins!

So that’s it, preseason football is over and the real stuff, the games that matter, will begin on Saturday 18th August. Now regular readers know that I’ve said my piece on what preseason means to fans, and even though the results don’t matter per say, we still like to see our teams winning! So I wont rehash that again, I’ll just go over the last couple of preseason games at Concord Rangers, and my thoughts on the players I’ve seen, and how things have taken shape down at the Aspect Arena.
Concord were at home to Chesham Utd just 3 days after their 3-0 loss at the hands of Dagenham & Redbridge, and the players responded in the best way possible, with a 1-0 victory and a clean sheet. The same result followed at home to Tonbridge Angels on the Tuesday (31st), showing that Dan Cowley & Glen Alzapiedi have worked hard to get the defence solid and strong ready for a tough season ahead. Next up was a friendly against Southend Utd, well I say Southend Utd, it was their youth team, and …

Living My Life Online

Living life online, I remember not so long ago when spending too much time online would lead to funny looks and you being abused or derided for not being very social. Well although there is still an element of that around, as time moves forward more and more people spend more time online and it’s become so much more acceptable. And to be completely honest, I am one of those people spending more time in an online world.
Gradually as I’ve got older I have spent an increasing amount of my time online, even more so over the past year or so with twitter being the main forum for it so to speak. But it didn’t start that way, through school the extent of my net use was a hotmail email account, sending crap to my mates and vice versa! Towards the end of school and as I increased my net usage, I signed up to a forum which focused on wrestling. Now at the time I was a big grap fan, and this allowed me to meet or at least just converse with other like-minded individuals. Through that forum I met …

Preseason Preparations

Pre-season can be a complicated time for football fans, now you may wonder why I say that when it should probably be the simplest of times for the sport, well I shall explain! For Concord Rangers, West Ham United and every other club at every level, pre-season is a mixture of things which mean that fans emotions can be put through the wringer even more than during the season! Now a big part of preseason is to ensure that the players you have are fit and match ready after a summer off work. The clubs want to see that their players have not overdone it on holiday or had 5 too many burgers, and make sure that they will be competitive during the coming season. Fans agree with this, and want to see the best players get the run out during the games, hopefully leading to moral-boosting victories before the regular season kicks off.
In contrast, there is also the need to trial new players, young players from the youth academy or players that may not have been with a club the previous season. …

Away Trips & Derby Days, Here Come The Fixtures!

Friday the 13th, a day of perceived bad luck, maybe that’s why the people behind the Ryman Isthmian league chose this date to unleash the upcoming seasons fixtures onto the teams and fans? Anyway, the day of fixtures being released is an exciting one for teams and fans alike, both looking to see who they open the season against, who they will take on to end the season, and of course when the local derbies will be fought! I say fought, I mean played, but some derbies can see emotions run high both on and off the pitch, as I am sure you all know!

So as a Concord Rangers fan my attention was on the release of the Ryman Isthmian Premier fixtures released at midday. This year we’ve got 6 new teams to face, 2 promoted from the Ryman South (Bognor Regis and Whitehawk), 2 from the Ryman North (Leiston and Enfield Town), and 2 relegated from the Conference South (Hampton & Richmond Borough and Thurrock). We meet a newly promoted team on the first day of the season as Bognor Regis come to …

The Winds Of Change Run Through Canvey Island

As a football fan, the summer is normally the worst time for every one of us. It’s the empty space where nothing really happens until July kicks in and transfers start to get agreed and signed. But to be honest, even in the top flight with transfers it can be very quiet. Non-league though, that’s a different story. Now I’ve been getting back into non league football over the past few years, and this summer is the first where I’ve really been a part of what is happening and seen some of the stuff that goes on behind the scenes. It’s been a hell of a lot livelier than any off-season I’ve seen as a West Ham fan (well maybe except for when we signed Tevez & Mascherano).
First off there was the great news that as a team Concord had secured the services for the coming season of players like Tony Stokes, Harry Elmes, Reece Harris, Arthur Lee and Kurt Robinson. Kenny Brown, a former West Ham player, had also joined the club as an assistant manager to Danny Cowley, after Danny Scopes had de…

Remembering The Lost - 7/7

It’s not quite the 7th yet, but after seeing tweets regarding a program on the events of 7/7 last night, it got me thinking about what happened on that day 7 years ago. It was a horrific day for London and the people who are a part of it, many were killed and thousands more were affected in some way by it. It’s a day that will continue to live on in the memory of everyone who played a part, whether you were travelling on the tube nearby, whether you were at work, or whether you were just watching at home.
Me, well I remember how the day went fairly clearly. It sticks in my mind as I was based at Fenchurch Street station along with my mum and my brother! That morning my mum was at Fenchurch, and my brother was at Limehouse, both on the early shift, whilst I was due to start at 2 for the late shift. I was 21 years old, a temporary supervisor, having stepped up for 6 months, and plodding along nicely. That morning I got a message from a friend of mine, Lucy, about what had happened, and I…

They just keep getting churned out!

Blogs, something i tend to do whenever the feeling hits, which generally is every few weeks or so! anyone who wishes to read this stuff on a regular basis, well i suggest following me on twitter (@Bulljet) as that is just a mini version of these blogs really! Anyway, last time i was typing away here, it was talking about what a day i had at Wembley for West Hams playoff victory. So you can see, regularity is not my strong point with these!Plenty seems to be going on lately, and it just makes you think that you need to get off your arse and do something about it. Take for example my home life, mum's partner has moved in, and no question he has made the whole place more miserable. Mum doesn't seem to see it, but its petty and winds us up the wrong way. In the space of a week, he pissed off all 3 of us, well to be honest it was even less than that! Of course this has led to my mum getting left out, as we all stick to ourselves even more now. Anyway the point is that its woken me …

We're The Famous West Ham and We Went To Wembley!

Its been well over a week, but i thought it was about time i got the experience down in a blog. Wembley Stadium, the home of English football, and for 90 odd minutes on Saturday 19th May, home to the dreams of 40,000 West Ham fans.First, some background, this time last year the Hammers had been relegated from the Premier League after a dismal season, optimism wasn't great, but after a new gaffer was appointed in Big Sam & signings were made, we were one of the favourites for automatic promotion when May arrived this year. Obviously that wasn't to be, and the playoffs beckoned. After a 5-0 aggregate demolition of Cardiff, the first date at Wembley for West Ham was made since the League Cup final loss in 1981.Now clearly i wasn't there in 1981, and i didn't get to Cardiff on our 3 recent appearances there, so i was hoping for a chance to experience what would obviously be a rare day for the club at the national stadium. Not being a season ticket holder or member work…

A Beachboy Review, (Concord Rangers, not the band)

Anyone who has read my previous blogs would know that I have more than a bit of love for my local non-league team Concord Rangers, and this past season was their second in the Ryman (Isthmian) Premier League. In previous blogs over the season I’ve mentioned the history of the club, and the rivalry with fellow Ryman League members Canvey Island FC. Well today I just want to go over the experience I’ve had as part of the club, and that’s a key thing to be honest, even as a fan I have felt part of the club!
The start of the season wasn’t great to be honest, after an excellent 2010/11 season debuting in the Ryman Premier, there was the worry of the second season slump that many promoted teams seem to encounter, and that’s throughout the league system. The Beachboys had to wait until their 10th league game for their first win of the season, this coming at the expense of Horsham, who were to go on to get relegated from the Ryman Premier.
The next victory came in the Essex Senior Cup, a compe…

Season's Over, But Not Quite Finished

It’s that time of year when the football season comes to an explosive end, the cup finals are there to be enjoyed and the playoffs provide both excitement and tension in the lower leagues. You reflect on the ups, downs and floods of emotions that have come the way of the fans over the months since it all kicked off back in August. And that’s pretty much what I’m doing here, nothing too in depth, but enough to reflect how things have gone!
The Championship, the old 1st division, and the old 2nd division before that, this was where the Hammers would be playing their games after what can only be described as a disastrous relegation season the previous year. Big Sam Allardyce was brought in as the manager with the one objective simply being to get the team back up. A shake up of the team ensued, and optimism was actually fairly mild, at least from my perspective going into the season! And things didn’t start too well either, as we lost at home to Cardiff, which was a glimpse at how our hom…

Slacking off!

What can i say, i seem to be getting a bit slack with blogs lately, i wish i could say it was because i am busy, but i recently had 8 days off work so i can't really use that excuse! Plenty has been going on though, and i thought it time to share that with your good selves! We'll get the boring bit out of the way first, work! With less than 100 days till the London Olympics everything is go at the moment, which in a way is great as there's no dull moments, but it can get a bit much at times. I've said it before & I'll say it again, sooner the Olympics are over the better! One bonus though is the focus on my dept has improved our conditions, we've got support, & a pay rise coming too! I started spending some of the upcoming cash recently, as previously mentioned i had 8 days off work starting Easter Monday. Now that day saw the 4th Canvey Island non-league derby take place. Now although Canvey beat Concord for the first time, it was a good day & it w…

March Madness

Over in the states there is a period of College Basketball called March Madness, this highlights the end of the season and the huge knockout tournament that takes place to determine the NCAA champs for the year. I mention this as I have found March to be particularly hectic with a lot going on both personally and in the sports I follow, hence that being the title of this latest blog entry.
For me it’s been all over the place this month, starting with Darts doubles tournament in the league I play in. I was paired with fellow team member Luke, and after a shaky start we won our opening round match quite easily. It all fell apart in the 2nd round though, as we were drawn against two other members of our own team! We went into the match far too settled and ended up losing, but it was still a good night all the same. I reckon Luke’s mind was elsewhere though, as the following Monday he flew away to get married! Anyway the darts “action” continued through the month, with the final league ga…